The Trump administration said it was rescinding an Obama-era policy concerning anti-personnel landmines.
President Donald Trump canceled the Obama administrations policy that prohibited U.S. military forces from using the mines outside of the Korean peninsula.
“The Department of Defense has determined that restrictions imposed on American forces by the Obama administrations policy could place them at a severe disadvantage during a conflict against our adversaries. The president is unwilling to accept this risk to our troops,” White House press secretary Stephanie Grisham said in a statement.
Safeguards on mines require them to self-destruct or, if the self-destruct mechanism fails, to self-deactivate.
A new policy issued by the department enables commanders to, in exceptional circumstances, employ mines designed to reduce unintended harm to civilians and allies. However, persistent landmines, or those without a self-destruct/self-deactivation function, will still be prohibited.
The antipersonnel landmines, or APL, are allowed under international treaties that the United States is a part of, Vic Mercado, Assistant Secretary of Defense for Strategy, Plans and Capabilities, said in a statement. The new action was taken as the result of a Department of Defense study that determined that the U.S. military “faced a critical capability gap,” Mercado said.
“Landmines, including APL, remain a vital tool in conventional warfare that the United States military cannot responsibly forgo, particularly when faced with substantial and potentially overwhelming enemy forces in the early stages of combat,” he said.
“Withholding a capability that would give our ground forces the ability to deny terrain temporarily and therefore shape an enemys movement to our benefit irresponsibly risks American lives.”
Secretary of Defense Mark Esper sent a memo to military leaders on Jan. 31 announcing the updated policy.
He said that “area denial systems, such as landmines, play an important role” in helping the military regain competitive advantages.
“These systems help protect defending forces from both enemy armor and dismounted threats and ensure units aRead More – Source